I can't quite put my finger on what I disliked most -- perhaps it was the droll art style, the cookie-cutter city sandbox, or the sentient wooden plank that Sucker Punch named "Cole Macgrath." Thankfully, the New Orleans-like setting of the sequel spiced things up a bit, and the decision to go with an even sillier vampiric setup made Festival of Blood more enjoyable.
inFamous: Second Son takes everything that the series has done right, puts it in a blender, and delivers what is easily the strongest entry yet.
On paper, the thought of participating in an eight-player Dragon Ball Z battle sounds like the stuff of fanboy dreams. Blasting Kamehamehas across the chasms of Namek while fighting alongside your favorite Saiyans could be as exhilarating virtually as it was to watch years ago on TV.
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z attempts to recreate this in all its chaotic glory. More than a simple one-versus-one fighter, the game is jam packed with characters -- from practically the entirety of the franchise -- that can be pitted in teams of four against each other in any dream combination possible.
Unfortunately in reality, having four Krillins trying to dismantle the likes of Androids 16 through 19 together is not even half as entertaining as the thought is ridiculous.
Vlambeer's air combat game, Luftrausers, has finally been cleared for take-off, following a wait that seemed far longer than anybody expected it would. It's been worth holding out for, and fans of high speed, challenging shoot-em-ups have something pretty special on their hands.
I really didn't know what to expect from Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z.
On one hand, it has the Ninja Gaiden name (which, admittedly, doesn't have much sway these days) and Keiji Inafune attached. But on the other, you have Spark Unlimited and the so-so grindhouse setup that kind of fell flat with a series of dull trailers.
The end result is a game that attempts to try a lot of different concepts, and only succeeds at a select few.
Ever since I randomly picked up a conspicuous looking Metal Gear NES catridge in 1990, I've been enjoying Snake's adventures. I've collected every Metal Gear game released in the US, and while I'm busy waiting for the next entry, I'm keeping up with the encyclopedic amount of data that fills the series' lore -- which is a task all on its own.
And wait we shall, as Phantom Pain is still completely up in the air regarding its release date, leaving Kojima and crew to satiate our needs with Ground Zeroes. But even as a fan, there are a few shortcomings that make me hesitant to call Zeroes a "must have" franchise entry, despite how fun it might be.
Flying is great. Fighting while flying is pretty great, too, but for some reason, dogfighting in good ol' atmosphere hasn't caught on as quickly as dogfighting in space. Despite the resurgence of space games brought on by the rise of crowdfunding and indie development, "sky-shooters" outside the niche simulation market remain in somewhat short supply.
Strike Vector is the kind of game that aims to scratch that itch, and several more besides. Heck, the fact that it says "Brutal Aerial FPS" right on the figurative box is an apt descriptor for what developer Ragequit Corporation is attempting to do.
The only question is if they've enough thrust to send their little game soaring.
Pure puzzle games can have a sort of zen effect for some players. Through repetition, players can almost subconsciously solve logic puzzles that would take an untrained person serious thought. When done well, time seems to melt away and all that matters is achieving nirvana through the journey to the solution.
The Japanese puzzles sudoku and nonogram (better known as Picross among gamers) manage to hit that sweet spot for many. Tappingo aims to join those ranks with a new way to recreate pixel images through use of deductive reasoning. It begins with promise, but never manages to reach its full potential.
When you create a new IP from scratch, it's pretty much a given that you'll have to go through a lot of the design phase until you land on an idea that jumps out at you. The developers at Respawn Entertainment had no idea what their new title would be, and the concept art they designed shaped what would eventually become Titanfall.
Thankfully, Titan Books has seen fit to share these designs with us. If you enjoy behind-the-scenes looks at the design aspect of game development, this is prime example of how to showcase it right.
I never got into Magic: The Gathering. Plenty of my friends did, but I couldn't afford countless booster packs or starter decks, and my mom wouldn't drive me to the seedy local comic book store to play against frightening high schoolers.
I loved the concept of trading card games, though. I collected Pokémon cards like any other red-blooded American child of the ‘90s, and even dabbled in Yu-Gi-Oh for a very dark four months. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft isn't the first videogame to attempt to do the same thing as Magic, but it’s easily one of the best.
Shadowrun Returns was released last year after a successful Kickstarter campaign and seemed to please fans and backers alike. In our review, Fraser Brown commented on how the toolset provided with the game would provide plenty of content in the future, and whilst it has been well supported by modders, most fans were waiting patiently for the big expansion, Dragonfall.
Dragonfall is an expansion in the old-school mold: it has a campaign that's equal to the length of the main Shadowrun story, a whole new setting and characters, and there's some nice refinements to the mechanics and structure. There's still some problems and frustrations but if you put up with them in the original Shadowrun, then Dragonfall will give you even more enjoyment.
The original Yoshi's Island is one of my favorite Mario games of all time. I don't know if it's the numerous and remarkably unique boss battles or the whimsical charm of throwing strategically bounced eggs, but it really resonated with me. I've gone back to it time and time again, and the DS remake was great for when I was on the go in its own way.
Yoshi's New Island for the 3DS seeks to bring back those good times, and the good news is Yoshi fans will mostly enjoy it. The bad news is it's not all that special.
The first-person shooter business knows its audience. Year after year there are military shooters that are stuck in the "newer" era of shooters, offering up realistic experiences and killstreaks galore, which gamers eat up annually.
Lost is the art of the arena or twitch shooter, which are usually just relegated to downloadable titles or the PC platform, and scant see the light of day as a true wide console release. Enter Titanfall -- a game that seeks to shake up the genre with elements of twitch shooters of old, and of course, giant hulking robots.
Titanfall doesn't really break the mold or offer up many things we haven't seen before -- but that doesn't mean it isn't fun to play.
This should sound somewhat familiar: a small band of mercenaries are on a forbidding planet, confronted by a horrific alien force that swarms across the landscape. Well-armed and entrenched, the soldiers have been easily keeping the enemy at bay despite being surrounded when, suddenly, the air becomes thick and acrid. Coughing and sputtering, the squad slowly begins to weaken from poison in the air while the aliens keep coming in force and threaten to overrun them.
That's the experience of playing Infested Planet. No matter how strong your defense or capable your soldiers, death is always just one mutation away.
My experience with the Souls series is one of my favorite memories of my entire gaming career. Playing Demon's Souls for the first time made me feel like a kid again, back when games didn't hold your hand and explain every single facet of the adventure -- leaving everything to your imagination.
Even though Dark Souls was mainly just a refinement of the formula on a technical level, it offered up all-new experiences that felt wholly unique, and raised the bar in many respects. But then something changed -- Hidetaka Miyazaki, the producer and arguably the heart and soul of the franchise left, passing the torch to Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura to carry on his legacy.
Once again, Dark Souls II remains relatively unchanged from its predecessors, and still offers up most of the same magic that you fell in love with the first two times around.
Azran Legacy picks up after the events in Miracle Mask, completing the prequel trilogy that began with Professor Layton and the Last Specter. Though it changes up the format slightly, anybody who has played any entry in the series knows what to expect: hunting for hint coins and engaging in unconventional mind puzzles.